Beginning 1 July 2014, the new regulations to Age Care services in Australia have changed. These changes will directly impact nearly every senior in the country at some point. The changes were designed to help improve senior’s ability to live in their home longer, while providing greater options.
Beginning 1 July 2014, the new regulations to Age Care services in Australia have changed. These changes will directly impact nearly every senior in the country at some point. The changes were designed to help improve senior’s ability to live in their home longer, while providing greater options. However, under the new rules, some seniors may see a significant increase in the amount of money they need to pay towards these services.
Even if you are not currently receiving Aged Care services, it is still important that you understand what these changes means and how they can affect you, either now or in the future. Below is a closer look at these new changes to help you understand how this may affect you.
The new changes are designed to provide seniors with more options by providing more home care packages. These new home care packages will allow more seniors to retain their independence while still allowing them to live in their own home, safely and securely. These packages will offer more home care services that many seniors are likely to need in order to keep their independence at home.
Means and Income Test
With greater flexibility, also come greater costs for some seniors. Service providers will be allowed to charge an income-tested care fee on their services for seniors who make more than $24.835.20 if they are single, $24367.20 if they are married but living apart, or $38,552.80 if they are married. The maximum out-of-pocket expense anyone will need to pay for these income-tested care fees is $10,000 per year, with a lifetime maximum of $60,000.
Seniors can also be charged an accommodation fee if they move to a residential care facility. Seniors will have the option of paying this fee in a one lump sum payment, or to pay daily fees. These fees will be determined based on the senior’s income and assets. This means-test will replace the former income-test that only took the senior’s income into account and not their assets. No senior will pay more than $25,000 per year for this fee, and the lifetime maximum out-of-pocket expense is $60,000.
The new regulations will also require all aged care services providers to list their fees and charges accurately on the My Aged Care website. This is designed to help seniors make more informed decisions not just about the type of care they receive, but also which service provider they want to use. Seniors will now know right from the start how much every service will cost.
Aged Care Assessment Team
Any senior requesting either home care services or residential care services will first need to be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This assessment is free of charge and will help determine what level of care the senior needs. This team will determine if the senior can remain living at home, if certain home care services are offered. The results of this assessment will determine what level of care the senior qualifies for.
These new changes to the Aged Care services will affect nearly all seniors and their families in one way or another. These changes have also brought confusion to some families who are trying to determine what the best financial options are with these changes. Seniors and/or their families may want to seek out the help of a financial counsellor, who can help you determine the best way to handle the senior’s finances to make the most of these new regulations. Learn more about the different levels of aged care here.
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